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An Artistic Legacy Reviewed in Brentwood

Exhibition, opening tonight, highlights career of Manon Cleary, a prominent D.C. artist who died last year.

An Artistic Legacy Reviewed in Brentwood

You remember how today is going to be a busy day in the Gateway Arts District? Well, it's going to be a bit busier than previously reported. 

Yes, in addition to the Tomes for Tunes Used Book Sale at Hyattsville Elementary, the Hyattsville Arts Festival and a book signing by author Keith Boykin at Urban Eats Arts and Music Cafe, there is also an opening reception at the 39th Street Gallery in Brentwood for an exhibition of works by the late Manon Cleary. 

Organized by the Gateway Community Development Corporation, the exhibit will highlight 14 of Cleary's drawings and paintings. Cleary, who died in November 2011 at the age of 69, was a world renowned artist whose photorealistic and figurative paintings reside in the permanent collections of some of the most prestigious art museums in the world, including the Chicago Art Institue, the Brooklyn Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. 

Cleary, a native of St. Louis, settled in Washington D.C. in the 70s after studying art at Temple University and in Rome. She taught at the University of the District of Columbia through 2002 when she took leave on account of the chronic lung disease which eventually claimed her life. 

During her time in Washington, Cleary established herself as one of the world's most respected realist painters. Her obituary in the Washington City Paper summed up her body of work thusly:

"For most of her career, Cleary employed a highly realistic painting and drawing style. Working from photographs—often of her nude body—she addressed the human figure, male and female sexuality, and her own sexual assault, among other topics both highly personal and comically banal." - Washington City Paper: Manon Cleary, 1942-2011

The opening reception at the 39th Street Gallery runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. today. The exhibit will run until November 17, 2012. The 39th Street Gallery is open Thusdays and Fridays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The 39th Street Gallery is located at 3901 Rhode Island Avenue in Brentwood. 

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